St. Paul's Lutheran Church

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“Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, ‘For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.'” – Genesis 32:30

Jacob’s struggle with the Lord is a great example of how faith struggles in weakness. Considering the patriarchs, the ancient people of faith and how they struggled, we can learn much. Like us, they too had weaknesses and doubts. The fact is that no one likes to be treated unfairly or suffer at the hand of another’s mistreatment. But looking back at these ancient people of faith, we see that they suffered and were not always firm or strong in faith, that they failed, they fell for temptation, and their struggles are much like ours. Jacob was mistreated, as was his father Isaac, as was Abraham, as was Noah, as was every other man and woman of faith.

Yet in their weaknesses, God continued to bless them. Jacob was comforted by God’s blessings, including the blessings he received from his father and grandfather. Nevertheless, he still struggled with his weaknesses.

You should never say to yourself, “I am the only one who struggles,” or “I deserve every bit of mistreatment I receive because I am so weak.” Instead, remember that God is with you, He has chosen you, you will not lose your faith, even in your struggles, and you’re not alone in your weaknesses and struggles, but great men of faith struggled just like you and yet continued to believe in God’s work of salvation in His only Son Christ Jesus. And like Jacob, you, through your struggles which refine you and strengthen your faith, will stand and say, “I saw God face to face, and I was spared.”

Heavenly Father, keep me from despair when I struggle, and in my weaknesses, continue to bless me and lift me up. In Jesus’ name, amen.